Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Summer afternoon in Bayswater

Kentish Town

Evening Sky over Church Street

The Surrey Canal, Camberwell (1935)

Birmingham with the Hall of Memory (1929)

The uncanny paintings of Algernon Newton (1880-1968). Perhaps the welcome rehabilitation of formerly unfashionable 20th Century British painters has already included the re-discovery of the work of Algernon Newton? If so, I hadn't come across this Royal Academician until recently.

On first sighting Newton's accomplished work looks extremely traditional. In technique and measured, tranquil composition they hark back to Canaletto. But take a look at the subject-matter. Newton was drawn to the shabbier side of London's and Birmingham's suburbs and canal-sides. So yes, these are urban landscapes but there's not a hint of human identification with the people of these areas. In fact people are generally absent and the viewer is presented with silent, deserted and brooding streets suffused with eerie nostalgia and uncanny atmosphere.

Above, a selection of Algernon Newton's urban landscapes. Apologies for lack of dates on certain pictures.


Louis XIV, "The Sun King" (Nick Jones) said...

I've not come across Newton before. There's a little of Carel Weight in the colouring, and Canaletto in the composition, of course. I like these a lot. I like the absence of people in them. Thanks for this one, John!

John Bagnall said...

Yes, Nick I can also see a bit of Carel Weight - another great painter of London!


I'm not familiar with Newton's work, but sense a little of Magritte's unsettling "stillness" in these paintings. They're all very striking btw.

alablague said...

Thanks for reminding us of Newton's work, which is marvelously unsettling, like Carel Weight's.

I had the privilege of knowing Carel Weight. Once we were driving across Clapham Common into a huge red sunset. Helen, Carel's wife, said, Look, a Turner sunset! and Carel said, Not at all; it's one of mine.